Shane steers away from life of crime with help of restorative justice

Date published: 22 November 2017

As a teenager Shane Geoghegan was, in his own words, living a life of crime. By the age of 18 he had a criminal record with more than a dozen convictions for offences including assault, disorderly behaviour and criminal damage - in one instance causing damage amounting to £25K. Many of actions were alcohol fuelled.

Restorative Justice Week

But with the help of the Youth Justice Agency the 21-year-old Antrim man has turned his life around. He’s not been in trouble for more three years now. He’s also now in full-time employment at a local manufacturing firm.

“The last time I was in trouble was my 18th birthday,” recalls Shane. “I don’t know how I escaped not being locked up, but I know I have the Youth Justice Agency to thank for sorting me out.

“In my early teenage years I was a bit of a tear-away, drinking, fighting, getting into all sorts of trouble. It landed me in court – a few times – and that’s when the Youth Justice Agency got involved.

“I had to attend a youth conference which was to help me understand the harm caused by my actions. The YJA also talked to me about alcohol abuse and anger management.

“When I was ordered by the courts to do community service they got me placed in Springfarm Community Association and St Comgall’s GAA and Youth Club where I was given painting and cleaning work. I also helped build hutches for the rabbits at the Springfarm complex.

“Eventually the penny dropped. I knew I had to ‘grow up’. I realised the badness had to stop. The YJA have really helped me. I haven’t been in trouble now for three years and I’ve got a good job. I’m in a very different place now.”

Youth Justice Agency Practioner Greg Walker who worked with Shane, said: “Restorative practice is at the heart of all that we do for young people who offend, for their victims and the communities within which they live.

“Shane is just one of maybe up to 15 young people we could be dealing with in any year in this area. Our youth conferencing process provides the young person an opportunity to play an active part in the resolution and repair of the harm caused by their actions, and it is always our hope they will come out the other side of the process a better person.”

Seamus Davis, Chairman of the Springfarm and District Community Association, added: “We have worked closely with the Youth Justice Agency in this area for more than 10 years now and the work that Shane and any of the young people who come through our door benefits both the local community and the individual.”

For more on the work of the Youth Justice Agency and Restorative Justice, go to

Notes to editors: 

Restorative Justice Week is an international event running from 19-26 November 2017. This year’s theme is Inspiring Innovation.

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